Play recording: Dancing

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  • Teideal (Title): Dancing.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781501.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): Joe’s background.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Esther Warkov.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 24/02/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): interview.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

Joe tells Esther Warkov that musical instruments were hard to come by when he was growing up, as they were too expensive. Instead, people danced to someone lilting – or people used to dance and lilt at the same time. Joe lilts a bit of ‘The Frieze Britches’ for Esther to dance to. Dancers would keep their body straight, and should keep their feet close to the ground, none of these high kicks – ‘the danced with their feet, you know.’ The interviewer suggests that the restricted movement may have resulted from dancing in a confined space indoors, but Joe insists that this was simply the style.


His remarks about dancing are easier to understand today, with the popularity of sean-nós dancing; and his disparagement of people lifting their legs are easier to understand in the context of the sort of solo dancing that was encouraged by the feiseanna ceoil at the time Joe was speaking to Esther.